CPUC Final Decision on Rooftop Solar Reform is an Unfortunate Missed Opportunity

Posted on December 15, 2022

Low-Income Families, Renters and Millions of Californians Will Pay a Hidden Solar Subsidy Tax on their Electric Bills Indefinitely

Sacramento – The Affordable Clean Energy for All coalition today expressed dismay that after a nearly two-year proceeding and a robust record documenting the unfair cost shift embedded in the state’s rooftop solar subsidy program, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) voted for a decision that falls short of ending the outdated, overly generous subsidies.

“The CPUC got this vote very wrong,” said coalition member Reverend Frank Jackson, chief executive officer of Village Solutions Foundation. “Low-income families are struggling to buy gas, put food on their table, and pay for everything, including utilities. Continuing to pay hundreds more a year to subsidize mostly wealthy Californians is unfair.”

The Net Energy Metering decision locks in an excessive $4 billion in subsidies for the existing 1.5 million solar customers that will continue to grow without end. That means low-income Californians and others unable to adopt solar will continue paying hundreds of dollars extra in their energy bills in perpetuity so rooftop solar homeowners, who tend to be wealthier Californians, can continue to receive bill discounts decades after they have paid off their solar systems.

“This final decision was a missed opportunity that will prolong the harm to low-income Californians and renters for decades to come,” said Kathy Fairbanks, spokesperson for Affordable Clean Energy for All, a coalition of 120 organizations representing low-income families, seniors, environmental, labor, business and community groups.

“Numerous independent studies and testimony from diverse parties make clear the current solar subsidy program forces low-income families, renters, seniors and anyone who doesn’t have rooftop solar to bankroll wealthier Californians’ solar systems. Today’s vote ensures this indefensible cost-shift will continue indefinitely,” Fairbanks concluded.

“Once again the struggles of millions of families and small businesses are being ignored,” said coalition member Azizza Davis Goines, president and CEO of the Sacramento Black Chamber of Commerce